Written by Sabera Jahan
As a drive to replace the age old fleets and enhance combat power, Bangladesh Air Force has started procuring number of Advanced Jet Trainers and Advanced Fighter Conversion jets... ...
As per the contract signed between Russian Federation and People’s Republic Of China BAF has so far received 06 nos of Yakovlev YAK-130 fighter conversion jet (NATO name Mitten) and 08 nos of K-8 Karakorum jet trainer.
According to concerned sources, BAF has inducted K-8s into 15 Squadron stationed at BAF base Matiur Rahman in Jessore and YAK-130s into 21 Squadron (Avengers) at BAF base Jahurul Haque in Chittagong. First batch of 03 nos of YAK-130s started arriving Bangladesh from 17 September. According to Oleg Demchenko, president of Irkut Corporation, which builds the twin-engine jet trainers, total 14 YAK is scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year and two more by next year. On the other hand,China has delivered all 09 aircrafts as ordered by BAF. Bangladesh is the third export customer for the Yak-130, which features a re-programmable flight control system able to emulate behavior and handling qualities of various types. It has a secondary role as a light attack aircraft.Algeria (16),Belarus(8) are other two operators of YAK-130s.
It is to be mentioned that, BAF signed agreement with Russian Federation to procure 16 nos of Yak-130 Advanced Jet Trainer cum Ground Attack Aircrafts worth 440 million US Dollar in January 2014. This agreement is the process under the loan protocol signed between Bangladesh and Russian Federation. Side by side BAF signed agreement with China for the procurement of K-8 (Karakorum-8 /JL-8) Jet Trainer and Light Attack Aircraft against a deal costs 80 million US Dollar. Yak-130 and K-8 are to gradually replace L-39s and A-5s.
Comments of Former Air Chief
Once asked about the two types of new aircraft inducted in BAF, former Air Force Chief Air Vice Marshal Fakhrul Azam opined that induction of new generation Advanced Jet Trainer and Advanced Fighter Conversion Aircraft had been a long due requirements of BAF. Older T-37s and L-39s got too old to maintain with the growing circumstances. He commented that `` K-8 Karakorum is a formidable and excellent jet trainer and had been the best possible choice for BAF and induction of this aircraft would certainly enhance training capabilities of our to be fighter pilots’’. Though AVM Azam didn’t see for himself the YAK-130s but highly appreciated the efforts of BAF in procuring this aircraft. ``This birds would implant good training for the fighter pilots and Fighter Conversion Unit- FCU of BAF would be capable of conducting fighter conversion training in a more advanced way’’ told AVM Azam.
Yak-130s: 16 nos, Costing 440 Million US$, 06 nos already inducted.
K-8s: 09 nos, Costing 80 Million US$
Yak-130 Prospective Combat Training System
The Yakovlev Yak-130 (NATO reporting name: Mitten) is a subsonic two-seat advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft or lead-in fighter trainer originally developed by Yakovlev and Aermacchi. Development of the plane began in 1991, and the maiden flight was conducted on 26 April 1996. In 2002, it won a Russian government tender for training aircraft, and in 2009 the aircraft entered service with the Russian Air Force.
The Yak-130 is equipped with a quadruple fly-by-wire control system capable of adapting the aircraft stability and controll ability characteristics to allow pilot training for different types of aircraft. This flight control system can also limit maximum values of angles of attack and g-loads, thus correcting eventual piloting errors and preventing the aircraft from stalling into emergency flight modes. In doing this, the system limits the maximum angle of attack to 35 degrees. The aircraft has two fuel-efficient engines with enhanced thrust-to-weight ratio and improved flight safety characteristics. The Yak-130 cockpit fitted with large color multifunctional displays fully corresponds with the "glass cabin" concept, and its controls - with the HOTAS concept. It is most important that the Yak-130 aircraft is able to simulate combat employment modes for pilot training purposes. Simulated on-screen markers and realistic ground/air target images, aiming and navigational data, equipment failure alerts and other data are presented in real time on the multifunctional displays and collimated sight. The Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft enjoys high maintainability features built into its design from the very beginning of the development program. Its air frame life amounts to 10,000 hours, and service life to 30 years. During this period the aircraft is operated in line with the on-condition maintenance procedures which provide substantial cuts in the operational cost. According to Russian experts, the Yak-130 operational cost is 6 to 7 times less than that of two-seat combat aircraft. Besides trainer applications, the Yak-130 aircraft can be efficiently employed as a light combat aircraft carrying up to 3,000 kg weapon stores under its nine hard points.
K-8 (Karakorum-8/ Hongdu JL-8) K-8 (Karakorum -8) is the export version of Chinese Hongdu JL-8 (Nanchang JL-8). It is a two-seat proven basic / advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft. K-8 is designed in the China by China Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. The primary contractor for this plane is the Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation. The export-variant K-8 Karakorum is co-produced by China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) for export markets other than Pakistan, while later aircraft for Pakistan have been built by the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF), Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. K-8 can perform various normal and aerobatic fighter training as well as air-to-air and air-to-ground armament training. It is designed in compliance with the requirement of modern military trainer and equipped with state-of-the-art engine, avionics, escape system, etc. K-8 is of excellent performance, high reliability and low operational cost. Besides, to fulfill the wide range of requirements, K-8 series aircraft has been developed into a bigger family with various avionic systems, and different type's cockpit.